Canada mulls new HOS rules

| 4/26/2002

The Canadian government is currently hosting hearings on proposed new regulations that would make changes to the country's hours-of-service regulations that govern how many hours a truck driver can work. The proposal is being developed by Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), an association of transportation ministry officials from all provinces and territories, and the federal government.

The CCMTA proposal reduces the daily limit from 16 hours to 14 hours and reduces the maximum possible weekly hours from 104 to 84. The CCMTA proposal would increase the minimum mandatory rest period by 25 percent.

CCMTA says the proposal is based on thorough consideration of the best available scientific evidence on the safety impacts of fatigue (including a 6 year, $6 million study conducted jointly by Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of Transportation) and on the recommendations from a panel of scientific experts.

The CCMTA working group included safety organizations, labour and others. The Ontario Trucking Association believes the current hours-of-service regulations are antiquated, cumbersome and contribute to fatigue as opposed to preventing it. The CCMTA has already spent five years studying the impact of fatigue on truck safety and consulting on a new set of regulations, and say it would welcome further public consultation on this important issue.

The CCMTA working group also includes Canadians for Responsible and Safe Highways (CRASH), a group that claims to be a grassroots road safety group. Ninety-one percent of Canadians believe hours-of-service reform is needed to make trucking safer, according to a survey released by CRASH.

Eighty-two percent of those surveyed by CRASH would change the 13-hour driving shift allowed in Canada to the American limit of 10 hours. In addition, 85 percent would restrict weekly work hours to 60 rather than the 84 hours per week planned for Canada.